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Posted · 3D-Printer Advice

Hello everybody,

I am currently searching for a 3d printer that will fit my requirements. At the beginning I could not imagine that this process would be so complicated.

Currently I am undecided between the Makerbot Replicator 2 and the Ultimaker 2. I am aware that this is a Ultimaker Forum, but I think you would be fair enough to tell me, if the Ultimaker 2 is not the right decision for me.

The biggest problem for me is, to get an idea of eachs 3d printer capability. Both makerbot and ultimaker have a lot images of their printers online, but almost none of their prints. For example Ultimaker has like one image of their "robot" online, but how big is it? Is it a print that is 2cm tall or 20cm? I know there are a lot of images in this forum, but most of them have the same problem: You can only guess how big the printed object is.

To get an better idea, I asked both companies for a sample model. I received the one from makerbot within a few days, but it is only printed with a resolution of 250 microns. Why do I advertise something to be able to print with 100 microns and then don't show its full capability?

Ultimaker didn't even sent me a sample model at all - although they promised to. I think my initial request was already 2 months ago, today I started a third one.

So perhaps I should explain what I want to do: Right now I am working on a board game and I would like to print the miniatures with a 3d printer. I am planning to produce a small edition of the board game and print all of the miniatures (or if the edition gets a little bigger at least the prototypes). The miniatures will be about 30mm tall and are quite detailed - perhaps a little bit like the Warhammer miniatures, to give you an rough idea.

Of course that is not the only thing I would like to print, but most ideas are about miniatures or other objects for board games. So I don't really care about the build volume of the printer, but about the maximum layer resolution.

And here comes the next problem: What is the smallest layer resolution? Ultimaker says 0,02 mm. I've read a test about printers in a german magazine, and they were saying "... even the smallest layer resolution of 0,02mm is possible to print with the Ultimaker 2". Then I am browsing this forum and find comments like "... of course you cannot print with a layer resolution of 0,02mm."

So what is possible? 0,02mm resolution would mean 1500 layers at a 30mm miniature. This should be enough for all the details (and probably even more than enough). But if I am only able to print with like 0,1mm resolution this might not be enough.

I know I haven't really asked a question, but I hope you understand my problem. Perhaps in this forum here is someone who prints similar objects with the ultimaker? (Don't need to be miniatures, but perhaps other small, detailed objects) Perhaps someone can even post an image, with a coin or something to get an idea of the object size.

Thanks for your help!


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    Posted · 3D-Printer Advice

    Hi and welcome to the forum ;)

    First of all yes Ultimaker can print at 0.02mm but it will take a hug amount of time. I've never tried it personnaly because most of the people here will tell you that below 0.06mm is kind of useless regarding the finished aspect.

    I did a print at 0.06mm you can have a look:

    20140401 072634

    20140401 072600

    20140401 072540


    The object is about 4cm tall i think. The ear is melted because of a bad parameter.


    The Ultimaker Robot is 33mm high if printed at scale


    Here are some pics of it at 0.1mm layers if i remember well.


    20140507 072757

    20140506 070855

    20140506 070844

    20140506 070823


    You can check the following topic to see many of the latest prints:






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    Posted · 3D-Printer Advice

    How about this answer? "It depends" ;)

    The thing is that a small detailed model can mean many things. Some small details may be easy to print while others very difficult. Perhaps you could post a picture of a model you would like to print and we could give more specific advice?

    A couple of small part prints from the big "post your latest print" thread:





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    Posted · 3D-Printer Advice

    One hint about the resolution / detail thingy:

    if i remember correctly, both UM2 and Replicator print with a .4mm nozzle.

    That means, the string of plastic that is laid down is (more or less) 0.4 mm wide.

    As a result, if you think of a flat square, the printed result will not have sharp edges but a minimum edge radius of .2mm.

    So, in x-y-direction, the nozzle diameter is the limiting factor.

    While you could exchange the nozzle (maybe consider an Ultimaker Original for that?) for something smaller, this would result in much longer print times.

    If i am not mistaken, half the nozzle diameter should result in twice the layer time?

    But then again, you may want to ask yourself if you really need such extreme detail, especially for a board game where the objects are handled, stored in a box and such, so too fine a detail might wear off over time anyway.

    If your conclusion is that you need the detail, i think you might want to look for a laser sinter printer rather than a fused filament printer.


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    Posted · 3D-Printer Advice

    Thinking that over: maybe you could find a FabLab or an ultimaker owner somewhere near you, so you can discuss your models and requirements, and maybe ask them for a print. Most people here on this forum are normally friendly enough so you might stand a good chance :-)


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    Posted · 3D-Printer Advice

    Hey rage,

    have a look at this - 0.1 mm print that I did on my UM2:

    Second print - Emmets Gear Bearing 2

    This was the 5 gear bearing from emmet on thingiverse. I printed it as my third print and it turned out to be perfect, after some initial turns to break the glued plastic it now runs like a real bearing.

    Another example at 0.1 mm resolution

    Forth print - smiling buddha

    forth print - smiling buddha


    The biggest challenge for what you are trying to do is that you should try to avoid overhang - otherwise you need to include support structures. If you can avoid that you should be very satisfied with the quality the UM2 puts out.


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    Posted · 3D-Printer Advice

    Thank you very much for your pictures and explanations.

    After seeing your printing results, I think that even 0,1mm layer resolution might be enough for printing miniatures.

    I also never thought of what burki said, that the noozle is 0.4mm and therefore is also a limiting factor for details. I think I have to redesign my models a little.

    lRobertl asked for a picture of one of the miniatures. I am not yet finished, but I am happy to share with you, what I have. It's the miniature of one of the main characters, which will be 30mm from head to toe.

    As I don't have much experience with 3d printing, I started to create the model without bothering about 3d printig too much. It also is not completely finished (for example the arms and the coat are still missing).

    So I am fully aware that the model will need some redesign, before being able to print it.

    Blender-Test-Render #1

    I'm happy about every tip or help. :)

    Another question: When exactly is a geometry an overhang? What angle is the UM able to print, and when does it fail? So if I take a look at the two owls that Didier Klein posted: They also have an overhang: Their body is much bigger then their feet. Did they need a support structure?

    Thank you!


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    Posted · 3D-Printer Advice

    Hi there,

    I have had some experience printing 'figures', more mechanical than organic, but rules still apply. :p I don't think FDM technology in general is well suited to printing warhammer scale figures, unless perhaps you had a tiny nozzle. But I'd make the case to consider scaling up your project instead!

    This was the first mech figure I tried to make in table top scale, but I had to scale it up to around 78mm in order for all the details to come through.


    I was a bit dissapointed that I couldn't do table top scale initially, but then I thought, why not go bigger instead of smaller? The one really great thing about FDM printing is the low cost of filament. (compared to powders, photoresins, etc) You could print 3-4 6" tall mechs for the cost of a couple TT scale ones on shapeways.


    In terms of resolution, this head was printed at 0.04mm on a UM1. So it can get pretty detailed so long as you get the orientation of your model correct. The big limiting factor as Burki mentioned is the nozzle size. As you can see the top of the head is a bit melted.

    Lastly overhangs are angles that are too steep to be supported by the layer under it. So the printer will try to print on air. You can generally design around it or use supports.

    if you look closely at the owl's feather tips. You can see that they're not quite as clean as the rest of the model, that's what happens with overhangs usually.

    Here's a recent thing that I made that just sits on the edge of having overhang failure. I think if the corner pillars of the pyramid were any steeper, it would start to speghetti and fail.


    You can download Cura, the slicing software for free and test your model for overhangs. Cura will automatically flag the angles that are too steep if you go to overhang mode.

    Alternatively you can just use supports.


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    Posted · 3D-Printer Advice

    or you should take a look at the SLA/DLP technology, resin cured with UV light using a laser or a beamer. The machines are more expensive (and the resin smells bad) for DIY.

    or you could order some examples at shapeways.com using their SLS nylon or Detail Plastic and see what the result is. Looking at the size of your models this wouldn't be too expensive.


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    Posted · 3D-Printer Advice

    On that scale, this is the best I managed to do:



    With lots of luck and quite some experience. (This was 2 years ago, I think I could do a bit better now)

    I wouldn't recommend FDM for what you want to do, as you will most likely be disappointed with the result. I would recommend looking at the Form1: http://formlabs.com/


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    Posted · 3D-Printer Advice


    Nice print Didier! Which do you often use--ABS or PLA? I know most 3D printing novices prefer printing with standard plastic materials. But I’m just thinking if professional hobbyists also experiment with other type of 3D printer materials like nylon, metal, wood or rubber-like filament like this http://www.3d2print.net/shop/product/rubber-black-1-75mm/. I know it would be a different prototyping experience especially if you use 3D printing techniques.


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